Built On Trust

A conversation with the builder of Krogen and Summit recounts the genesis of a successful collaboration.
By Elaine Lembo

Long before Kadey-Krogen became a leading bluewater trawler brand, before the massive port city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, became Asia’s biggest yacht manufacturer, before a family-owned company called Asia Harbor Yacht Builders became the exclusive builder of Krogen and Summit models—well before these evolutionary milestones—there was a meeting of visionary minds.

As the story goes, the year was 1973, and the place was the boat show in Annapolis, Maryland. Builder Lin Kao Shui, steeped in boatbuilding methods unique to his country, had one of his commissions shipped to the other side of the world and on display at the biggest annual nautical event in the United States at that time.

Marine engineer and yacht broker Art Kadey, on the hunt for a comfortable and safe recreational bluewater cruising trawler, having already convinced naval architect Jim Krogen during a meeting to work up a few sketches of a “salty and seakindly” design for his personal use, was drawn to Lin’s full displacement trawler yacht. At the Annapolis show, he showed it to Krogen.

“Art Kadey and Jim Krogen saw the boat my father constructed and came to Taiwan’s Chung Hwa Yacht Shipyard to find him,” recalls general manager Jeff Lin, Lin Kao Shui’s son. “They started negotiations for future contract manufacturing. That laid the intial foundation for Kadey-Krogen yachts.”

With the support and encouragement of the American duo, Kao Shui Lin ultimately progressed from contractor to factory owner. In 1988, the family-run Asia Harbor was officially established, and in 1991, it became the exclusive manufacturer for Kadey-Krogen. “In 1992, we purchased the land and facilities we are currently using,” Lin says. “I started working at Asia Harbor in 2007, and my father retired officially in 2010.”

Today, as the parties prepare to celebrate a half-century-long collaboration, almost 700 long-range yachts ranging from 36 to 58 feet have been built, and there’s no end in sight—evidenced by the new Krogen 60 Open under construction, and the Summit Motoray series.

“Kadey-Krogen’s 50th anniversary in 2026 is a milestone and holds significant meaning for our relationship,” Jeff Lin says. “We’ve consistently delivered yachts that meet Kadey-Krogen quality standards of craftsmanship and expertise. The longevity of this partnership demonstrates mutual trust, cooperation, and successful collaboration. It not only celebrates our past achievements but also opens doors for future opportunities and growth. Our story is one of fruitful cooperation and bonds of mutual trust.”


Then and Now

Skittering over an ocean of important and interesting formative events, these are the key scenes of the partnership story. But it’s also fun to reminisce about the details and learn more about Asia Harbor Yacht Builders today.

Back then, knowing that the emerging recreational trawler market had few players, and that few builders had tapped into recreational passagemaking construction, the newly formed Kadey-Krogen, with Lin at their side, took the plunge.

The Kadey-Krogen 42 launched in 1977 and her robust construction resembled commercial shrimp trawlers built to respect the sea and ride out any conditions. The hull and cabin sides of the Krogen 42 were built of fiberglass-sandwich construction with closed-cell PVC foam core; heavy, hand lay-up using mat and roving. The buoyant composite structure insulates for shock, sound, and temperature, and provides for a quiet, comfortable ride. To date, the 42 is Kadey-Krogen’s best-selling model, with 206 built over the decades.

“Initially, our factory didn’t even have overhead cranes,” Jeff Lin says. “The installation of any equipment or major parts onto the boats had to rely on manual labor or separate crane services. The process of tooling was also different compared to now, where we use 3D software in conjunction with CNC cutting machines.”

Previously, experienced craftsmen would scale the designs to their actual sizes based on blueprints, and cutting and assembly were done manually. And the equipment installed on the boats was quite different. “In the early days, the yachts we built only had the main engine and generator installed as mechanical equipment,” Lin recalls. “Other equipment and appliances were installed in the United States. Nowadays, almost all the yachts manufactured by Asia Harbor are equipped with a full range of equipment at the factory.”

The custom-fabricated fuel tanks of a Krogen 58 are pressure-tested at the factory before they are installed. Note the large inspection ports to allow for easier cleaning and inspection—a key process on a long-distance passagemaker.

Guiding Principles

Over time, quality over quantity emerged as the most important factor to Asia Harbor Yacht Builders. “Taiwan has already achieved a considerable level of expertise in yacht construction, so we cannot compete with other countries solely based on price,” Lin says. “Our only choice is to continuously enhance our capabilities and construct yachts that meet higher standards to cater to the demands of our experienced clients.”

With years of industry experience and a highly knowledgeable team, Asia Harbor enjoys a deep understanding of the subtle nuances of yachts—as well as of owners.

“We approach every aspect of yacht design and construction with meticulous attention to detail,” Lin says. “From selecting high-quality materials to achieving exquisite craftsmanship and perfect harmony, we strive for exceptional quality. We also understand that each yacht owner has unique tastes and preferences. We, together with The Kadey-Krogen Group, offer a variety of customization options, allowing owners to personalize their yachts according to their specific requirements and desires. This flexibility ensures that every yacht we build embodies the owner’s individual style and preferences.”

The massive hull of the Krogen 58 is being laid up, employing layers of Aramid (Kevlar material) to ensure maximum strength while minimizing extra weight.

Building Better Boats in Taiwan

Incentives from the Taiwanese government help support the growth of the nation’s yacht building sector. According to Lin, this encompasses infrastructure development; training and education; and promotion and marketing:

  • Infrastructure development—The government has invested in the development and upgrade of yacht marinas, ports, and related infrastructure to provide better facilities for yacht owners, operators, and tourists. “This includes expanding berthing capacity, improving navigation channels, and enhancing service facilities,” Lin says.
  • Training and education—The government has collaborated with industry associations and educational institutions to provide training programs and courses for yacht design, construction, operation, and maintenance. “This helps to cultivate skilled talents and enhance industry competitiveness,” Lin adds.
  • Promotion and marketing—The government actively promotes Taiwan as a destination for yacht building and yacht tourism through various marketing activities, participating in and presenting international boat shows, and organizing yacht-related events. “This helps to increase awareness and attract domestic and international customers,” he explains, adding that “these incentives collectively aim to support the development of the yacht industry in Taiwan and position Taiwan as a competitive player in global yacht manufacturing.”

Asia Harbor Yacht Builders employs approximately 80 workers. It conducts comprehensive programs to ensure employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their jobs. Training encompasses product knowledge, operating techniques, and quality control, among relevant areas.

“Our employees typically work within the same factory and are assigned to different areas or departments based on their functions,” Lin says. “This enables convenient and efficient organization of workflow. We also promote cross-departmental collaboration and resource sharing to reduce costs and maximize personnel utilization. For example, in our company, employees in the varnish department also have the skills to perform FRP lamination and gelcoat repairs.”

A Summit 54 is in the final stages of construction at Asia Yacht Harbor. Equipment installed at the factory ensures seamless commissioning.

Process and Priorities

At Asia Harbor’s yard, carpentry plays the most significant role, from placing bulkheads, stringers, soles, and decking, to interior joinery, exterior hardware installation, radar arch, hardtop, and finally, the installation of appliances, cabinet doors, and drawers. “All of these tasks are completed by carpenters, so we place special emphasis on their training and development,” Lin says.

Systems testing, an equally significant component of the yacht construction process, takes place before boats are shipped, focusing on every component. “The majority of ships undergo land-based testing at our yard,” Lin explains. “Our testing focuses primarily on the systems and equipment. The checklist includes propulsion systems, electrical systems, navigation systems, communication systems, and heating/cooling air conditioning systems. We collaborate with engineers from equipment suppliers to perform the tests, record data, and make improvements for any deficiencies identified.”

Of the range of models the yard has built, spanning from less than 40 feet to 70 feet, two stand out: the 42, Kadey-Krogen’s most popular model in terms of units sold, and the 58. These two successful models share differences and commonalities that showcase what goes on at the yard in terms of processes, hull materials, fit, and finish.

For Lin, the 42 is what he personally considers the most iconic of the company’s models, while the 58 demonstrates that Kadey-Krogen and Asia Harbor have taken the game to another level of technical expertise.

“In the early stages, when we were constructing the 42 and the 44, we were able to purchase all the materials for 10 boats at once because we were focused on mass production,” Lin says. “But the 58 is different. As the flagship model at the time, we started offering customized options to buyers. This allowed us to have a clearer understanding of market demands and equipped us with the capability to face challenges more effectively.”

Lin attaches more memories to other models.

“The ones that stand out are the twin-engine 48-40 that I built with my father in 2007, 44-31, the 600th yacht of Kadey-Krogen in 2014, the customized construction of the 58-22 in 2017, and the lightweight Summit 54-foot motoryacht,” he says. “The building processes of these boats have been truly rewarding for me.”

And setting the course for it all are dual sentiments of collaboration and trust.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to share the story of Asia Harbor,” Lin says. “I feel honored to continue building Kadey-Krogen Yachts, and it brings me great pride.”